In the harbour of art. Final conference of Areas of Inspiration project.

The final conference of the project “Areas of Inspiration” was held in Estonia.

Art can play a beneficial role in the development of remote rural and protected areas. This has been successfully shown in 6 locations: in the Strážnicko microregion (the Czech Republic), Viinistu (Estonia), villages of Gánovce and Hôrka (Slovakia) and the State Historical and Cultural Reserve Tustan and National Nature park Synevyr  (Ukraine) which all benefited from the support of “Creative Europe” programme of the European Union participating in the “Areas of Inspiration” project.

In order to conclude the project, take its stock and share its lessons learned, a final conference “Genius loci. Art and Nature“ was organized by Machaon International and Viinistu Art Museum on 25 – 26 May 2019 in Viinistu in the Lahemaa National Park (Estonia). It was attended by representatives from all project areas and many invited guests, including artists and cultural figures from Russia, Israel and France. The venue was extraordinary in itself, the current art gallery and cultural center was once an old fishing factory with a small harbour at the Baltic coast.

The conference provided space for discussing the role of the locality for contemporary art and its relation to nature, traditional culture, and rural development.  The themes of the social role of artists, the involvement of local communities in creative projects, the sustainable functioning of art residences, the rehabilitation of heritage, landscapes and values of rural communities through artistic events and the like were presented by individual speakers who brought practical examples from the project sites and other similar locations in Europe.

Each area is unique and can be an inspiration for others. For instance, in Gánovce art events are successfully organized by local residents with the active support of the village as stated by the mayor of the village Michal Materný who also took part in the conference. Or little Annogallery in Hôrka shared its experience with creative workshops for children which draw interest from the whole region.  Amazing events were organized in Tustan in Ukraine where new approaches were pioneered.

The main day of the conference culminated by the opening ceremony of a special exhibition presenting art works created during the project from all 6 locations and a small evening concert by Slovenian singer Ljoba Jenče.

The second day of the conference was dedicated to an excursion within the Lahemaa National Park. The participants had an opportunity to visit several locations and see some local art residences. The international conference “Genius Loci. Art and Nature ” was an excellent opportunity for people from different countries to discuss organization of cultural activities in rural areas, to exchange experience and establish contacts for further cooperation.

Posted by: Svetlana Belova on 4th June 2019

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